In the world of property management, there are many things that nobody looks forward to.
One of the most expensive and stressful of these events is an eviction process.
As a landlord or property owner, an eviction can cost thousands of dollars as well as many hours of commitment, possible property damage, and even the risk of assault or harassment.
So, naturally, most landlords want to get the eviction process over with as fast as possible. However, there are many factors that may limit just how quickly the rental property can be evicted.
In this guide, we will be giving a complete overview of how long does an eviction take, as well as the steps that are required to make sure it is completed safely and legally.
To begin, let's go over some of the reasons that a tenant may be evicted as well as how these reasons may impact the time it takes.
Reasons To Open An Eviction Process
Before even starting to look into an eviction process, it is important that there is enough reason. This means that the tenant must be in some sort of violation of the lease agreement or the law before an eviction notice can be sent out.
Below are some of the most common reasons for evictions.
Inability To Pay Rent
The most common reason for eviction is that the tenant fails multiple times to pay rent. When the tenant signs the lease agreement, they are agreeing with paying rent. So, when they do not do that, they are in direct violation of the lease and can face an eviction lawsuit.
Another very common cause of eviction is illegal activity within the rental property. Depending on the illegal activity, the entire eviction process could be completed very quickly. In this case, the eviction case would be closed and the landlord can rent out the property once again.
A tenant eviction can also occur if the tenant fails to maintain the condition of the property. Since it is part of the tenant's responsibility to keep the property in good condition, excessive property damages with no proper notice definitely warrant a legal eviction. In some cases, if the landlord wins, the tenant pays for any damages that they caused on the property.
Not Vacating After Termination Of Lease
After a certain time period, as agreed on in the lease, the tenant must leave the property as the lease has terminated. If the tenant does not leave, they may be evicted. A landlord typically sends a quit notice to the tenant and, if they still don't leave, proceed to schedule a court date for the eviction.
All of these are very common reasons for tenants to be evicted from a rental property. However, it is still essential to check your local and state laws to ensure that you can evict a tenant for these reasons.
If you want to learn about your state's landlord-tenant laws, you can visit DoorLoop's Laws Page and find your state.
Now that we know all about some of the reasons to evict a tenant, let's learn about the process itself, as well as how long it should take.
Eviction Process Overview
In this section, we will be going over all of the steps that are included in a complete eviction process. Please note that not all processes are the same and any specific case can deviate from the steps below.
The first thing that should be done at the beginning of any eviction process is to give the tenant notice of the eviction. This notice is what will initiate the entire eviction process. Within it, the landlord should include the reasons for eviction, the length of the notice period, as well as anything that can be done to fix it.
However, in some cases, there is nothing that the tenant can do to fix the issue. Then, the notice is considered an unlawful detainer. This means that if no action is taken, the eviction process will proceed.
Depending on the time allotted to the tenant, this step can range from a couple of days to one or two months. The most common notices that are given to tenants include the 3-day pay or quit notice and the 30/60-day notice to vacate the property.
Formal Court Complaint
If the eviction process is to proceed, the next step is for the landlord to submit a formal complaint. This step is very quick and can even be done in less than an hour. By doing this, you are formally notifying the courts that you want the tenant to vacate the property.
This is one of the fastest parts of the process. It is also one of the parts that is difficult to control, as a response from the court can take some time.
Court's Notice Of Eviction
Once the court receives your formal complaint, they will eventually send out their own notice to the tenant. This notice is similar to the one that the landlord originally sends to the tenant but with more authority.
When the tenant receives the notice, they are given a period of time to vacate the property. However, if they can sum up enough evidence to prove that they should be allowed to stay on the property, the process is prolonged. Then, the court may schedule a court hearing.
If the court sees a need for a court hearing, then one will be scheduled. This hearing is typically scheduled within 20-30 days of when the decision was made. However, this number can vary greatly.
In busier jurisdictions, like in larger cities, the hearing could take much longer. In smaller jurisdictions and smaller cities, it could take much less time.
The purpose of the court hearing is to decide whether the eviction should go through or not. If the tenant ends up winning the case, the landlord is typically forced to allow the tenant to remain in the property.
However, if the result of the hearing is in the landlord's favor, the eviction continues. Now is when the evicted tenant is forced to vacate the property. If there are still complications with the tenant vacating the property, the landlord may file for a Writ of Possession. This document is issued by the court and is posted on the property in order to notify the tenant that they have a certain time period in which they must leave.
If the tenant is still not leaving the property, you may need to contact the authorities. Most states do not allow landlords to personally intervene in removing the tenant, but the Sheriff's office is allowed.
Total Time Taken
As you can probably tell, an eviction is not always a straightforward process. If the tenant is very cooperative, the eviction can be completed within a week or two.
If the tenant is not cooperative, however, the eviction could take up to a month or two. This is mostly due to state and local laws restricting the things that can be done to tenants who refuse to leave the property. It is also affected by the landlord's ability to complete all eviction paperwork and keep up with all the court costs.
In the next section, we will be going over some ways that may help speed up the entire process.
Speeding Up The Eviction Process
Trying to rush an eviction process is a tricky endeavor. Evictions are closely regulated by landlord-tenant laws and any violation of the law can cost the landlord the entire case.
This is why it is important to always be keen on the law in your state and never do anything without consulting with an attorney. Below, we have provided some general tips to make sure that the eviction process goes by quickly and legally.
Avoid Troublesome Tenants
Although this might seem obvious, it is simply the best way to avoid having to deal with evictions altogether. And the best way to do this is by thoroughly screening your tenants before renting out to them.
One of the most important parts of the screening process is digging up past eviction records. If a tenant has a long history of evictions, they are probably not the best tenant to rent out to. Not sure how to find an applicant's eviction records? Visit this full guide from DoorLoop to find out exactly how to find anyone's eviction records.
Always remember that investing in finding good tenants will always be worth it in the end. An eviction can cost thousands of dollars and tons of time but it can all be avoided by spending the time and finding good tenants.
If you happen to stumble across a troublesome tenant and want to evict them as quickly as possible, it is essential to act as quickly as possible. Now, this does not mean that you should go straight to the court and file a complaint.
Acting quickly means notifying the tenant of their wrongdoings as early as possible. By doing this, you are already alerting the tenant that they may be in trouble if they keep up the behavior. If they do not fix their violation, you can let them know that a complaint has been filed with the court and to be prepared for a hearing.
Remember to note, however, that you cannot act too quickly, as you may violate the law. Just be sure to submit everything quickly when the tenant violates the agreement to minimize lost rent.
Follow All The Laws
The most important part when trying to have a quick eviction process is to follow every law. If you make sure to follow all of the laws, there is no chance for interruptions in the eviction on your part and the case can continue.
If the landlord does not follow the law, there is a high chance that they lose the case. This is obviously the worst way for an eviction to turn out for the landlord as they will have to cover all the costs and the tenant will remain on the property anyway.
So, remember to visit DoorLoop's Laws Page and always have an attorney when dealing with an eviction.